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Real Estate

Hedonic Home Value Index

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Hedonic Home Value Index

CoreLogic: Australia’s smallest cities drive growth in national housing values as Sydney and Melbourne decline CoreLogic’s national Home Value Index (HVI) was up 0.7% in March, a subtle increase on the 0.6% lift recorded in February. The uptick in the monthly rate of growth was primarily driven by stronger conditions in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the ACT, along with several regional areas, offsetting a slip in values across Sydney and Melbourne.

The first quarter of the year has seen Australian dwelling values rise by 2.4%, adding approximately $17,000 to the value of an Australian dwelling. A year ago, values were rising at more than double the current pace, up 5.8% over the three months to March 2021 before the quarterly rate of growth peaked at 7.0% over the three months ending May 2021.

Sydney’s growth rate is showing the most significant slowdown, falling from a peak of 9.3% in the three months to May 2021, to 0.3% in the first quarter of 2022. Melbourne’s housing market has seen the quarterly rate of growth slow from 5.8% in April last year to just 0.1% over the past three months.

CoreLogic’s research director, Tim Lawless, says while the monthly rate of growth was up among some cities and regions, there is mounting evidence that housing growth rates are losing momentum.

“Virtually every capital city and major rest-of-state region has moved through a peak in the trend rate of growth some time last year or earlier this year,” Mr Lawless said.

“The sharpest slowdown has been in Sydney, where housing prices are the most unaffordable, advertised supply is trending higher and sales activity is down over the year.”

“There are a few exceptions to the slowdown, with regional South Australia recording a new cyclical high over the March quarter and some momentum is returning to the Perth market where the rate of growth is once again trending higher since WA re-opened its borders.”

With the softening in market conditions, the national annual growth rate (18.2%) has fallen below the 20% mark for the first time since August last year, after reaching a cyclical high of 22.4% in January 2021.

Mr Lawless said the annual growth trend will fall sharply in the coming months, as the strong gains recorded in early 2021 drop out of the 12-month calculation.

National housing turnover is also easing, with preliminary transaction estimates for the March quarter tracking 14.3% lower than the same period in 2021, but still 12.2% above the previous five-year average.

“Nationally, the volume of housing sales is coming off record highs but there is some diversity across the capital cities in these figures as well. Our estimate of sales activity through the March quarter is 39% lower than a year ago in Sydney and 27% lower in Melbourne, while stronger markets like Brisbane and Adelaide have recorded a rise in sales over the same period.”

Regional Australia continues to show some resilience to a slowdown with housing values across the combined regional areas rising at more than three times the pace of the combined capital cities through the March quarter. Regional dwelling values increased 5.1% in the three months to March, compared with the 1.5% increase recorded across the combined capital cities. The rolling quarterly growth rate in regional dwelling values has consistently held above the 5% mark since February 2021.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) regional population growth figures for FY2020-21 help explain the strong housing conditions outside of the capitals. The number of people living in regional areas of Australia increased by almost 71,000 residents, while residents living in the capitals fell by approximately 26,000 (mostly due to a sharp drop in Melbourne and, to a lesser extent, Sydney).

 

 

Trends in property listings continue to help explain the divergence in housing growth trends.

Advertised inventory, at a national level, is tracking 30% below the previous five-year average over the four weeks ending March 27. However, a more detailed analysis of each capital city highlights significant differences in the total number of homes available to purchase.

In Melbourne, total advertised supply was 8% above the previous five-year average towards the end of March, while the number of homes available to purchase in Sydney had virtually normalised to be 7.5% higher than a year ago and only 2.6% below the five-year average. Higher stock levels across these markets can be explained by an above average flow of new listings coming on the market in combination with a drop in buyer demand.

“With higher inventory levels and less competition, buyers are gradually moving back into the driver’s seat. That means more time to deliberate on their purchase decisions and negotiate on price,” Mr Lawless said.

In contrast, advertised stock levels in Brisbane and Adelaide remain more than 40% below the previous five-year average levels and around 20% to 25% down on a year ago. It’s a similar scenario across regional Australia, where total advertised housing stock was 22% below last year’s level and 43% below the previous five-year average. Such low inventory levels along with persistently high buyer demand continues to create strong selling conditions in these areas, supporting the upwards pressure on prices.

Rental trends are becoming increasingly diverse across Australia. At a macro level, rents are still rising at well above average rates. While annual rental growth has eased from a recent peak of 9.4% in November last year to 8.7% over the 12 months ending March 2022, the quarterly pace of growth has rebounded through the first quarter of the year, from 1.9% in Dec 2021 to 2.6%
in March 2022.

The rebound is partly seasonal as rental trends tend to be stronger through the first quarter of the year, but there are other factors at play including stronger conditions across the medium to high
density rental sector.

The rate of growth in unit rents has strengthened to reach a cyclical high of 3.0% in the March quarter, rising at a materially faster pace than house rents (2.4%). The stronger rental conditions across the unit sector demonstrates a remarkable turnaround in rental conditions across higher density markets, where rents fell sharply through the first nine months of the pandemic.

“Through the pandemic to-date, capital city house rents have risen by 13.8% compared with a 3.4% rise in unit values,” Mr Lawless said.

 

“The net result is that renting a unit is substantially more affordable than renting a house. This affordability advantage, along with a gradual return of overseas migration, employees progressively
returning to offices and inner city precincts regaining some vibrancy, are likely key factors pushing unit rents higher,” Mr Lawless said.

Sydney is now recording the strongest lift in unit rents, up 8.3% over the 12 months to March following a 7.2% peak to trough fall in the first half of the pandemic. Similarly, Melbourne unit rents are
up 6.9% over the past year after posting an 8.5% peak to trough fall.

With national rents up 2.6% over the March quarter and housing values rising by a lower 2.4%, gross yields have posted a rare rise in March, up two basis points from a record low of 3.21% in January and February to 3.23%. If rents continue to outpace housing values, which is likely if the housing market moves into a downturn, yields will continue to recover.

The housing market has transitioned from an upswing generally characterised by a strong and broad-based rise across the regions of Australia, to one best described as multi-speed.

At one end of the spectrum Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are recording flat to falling housing values, while at the other is Brisbane and Adelaide, where the quarterly pace of growth continues to rise at an annualised pace of more than 20%. Perth too is re-accelerating off a low base, which can, at least partially, be attributed to state borders re-opening, and regional markets are mostly strong as population growth runs up against low available supply levels.

Despite the diversity, the outlook for housing remains skewed to the downside.

 

• Rising fixed term mortgage rates and the prospect of higher
variable mortgage rates later this year are only part of the reason why housing markets are likely to soften as 2022 progresses. Other factors include:

Affordability – With housing values rising so much more than incomes over the past two years, it has become harder for prospective buyers to access the market. Saving for a deposit and funding transactional costs is a significant hurdle for a growing number of prospective buyers.

Inflation – Higher costs of living are also likely to weigh on housing demand. Higher inflation implies less disposable income and lower household savings which could make it harder for prospective buyers to raise a deposit and demonstrate their ability to service a new loan commitment. A surge in household savings through the pandemic has been a supporting factor for housing demand, however as the economy returns to the new normal, households are saving less; a trend likely to become more pronounced through the year.

Higher supply – Both newly constructed dwellings and a rise in advertised listings is likely to gradually skew housing market conditions in favour of buyers, providing more choice and an opportunity to negotiate with less urgency around decision making.

Sentiment – Consumer confidence has taken a turn for the worse over recent months, with the weekly reading from ANZ and Roy Morgan falling to the lowest level in about 18 months. Historically, consumer sentiment and housing market activity have shown a close relationship. Below average sentiment, along with slowing housing markets and the prospect of rising interest
rates, is likely to cause prospective buyers to think twice before engaging with the housing market.

However, there are other factors that should help to offset the downside risk.

• A strengthening economy, low jobless rate and rising income growth – This should help to keep a floor under housing demand and keep the number of distressed listings to a
minimum through a downturn.

• A new round of incentives for first home buyers – In the leadup to the federal election both major political parties have already announced additional support for first home buyers in
the form of an extension to low deposit home loan guarantees. Historically, first home buyers have reacted positively to stimulus measures.

A return of migration – Higher overseas migration is a net positive for housing demand. The most immediate flow through is likely to be seen in higher rental demand which could
incentivise investors and, in the longer term, flow through to purchasing demand from permanent migrants.

 

CoreLogic is the largest independent provider of property information, analytics and property-related risk management services in Australia and New Zealand.

Methodology

The CoreLogic Hedonic Home Value Index is calculated using a hedonic regression methodology that addresses the issue of compositional bias associated with median price and other measures. In simple terms, the index is calculated using recent sales data combined with information about the attributes of individual properties such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, land area and geographical context of the dwelling. By separating each property into its various formational and locational attributes, observed sales values for each property can be distinguished between those attributed to the property’s attributes and those resulting from changes in the underlying residential property market. Additionally, by understanding the value associated with each attribute of a given property, this methodology can be used to estimate the value of dwellings with known characteristics for which there is no recent sales price by observing the characteristics and sales prices of other dwellings which have recently transacted. It then follows that changes in the market value of the entire residential property stock can be accurately tracked through time. The detailed methodological information can be found at:

https://www.corelogic.com.au/research/rp-data-corelogichome-value-index-methodology/

CoreLogic is able to produce a consistently accurate and robust Hedonic Index due to its extensive property related database, which includes transaction data for every home sale within every state and territory. CoreLogic augments this data with recent sales advice from real estate industry professionals, listings information and attribute data collected from a variety of sources.

 

About the data
Median value refer to the 50th percentile of valuation estimates observed in the region Growth rates are based on changes in the CoreLogic Home Value index, which take into account value changes across the market Only metrics with a minimum of 20 sales observations and a low standard error on the median value have been included Data is at March 2022

 

 

Median value refer to the 50th percentile of valuation estimates observed in the region
Growth rates are based on changes in the CoreLogic Home Value index, which take into account value changes across the market
Only metrics with a minimum of 20 sales observations and a low standard error on the median value have been included
Data is at February 2022

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BuyersBuyers releases 2022-3 Investor Special Report and top suburb picks

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BuyersBuyers releases 2022-3 Investor Special Report and top suburb picks

BUYERSBUYERS

Property market moves into downturn phase 

Australia’s housing market will be digesting the prospect of rising interest rates over the next six months, leading to a downturn which will present some opportunities for counter-cyclical investors, according to Pete Wargent, co-founder of Australia’s national marketplace for property buyer’s agents, BuyersBuyers.

Mr Wargent said, “the Australian economy has rebounded far more quickly than anyone could have dared to hope but combining the rebound in demand with supply chain disruptions means that the second half of 2022 will see some of the highest headline inflation prints in approximately three decades”.

“The prospect of the cash rate target potentially rising from close to zero towards 3 per cent by the end of this year will be a serious handbrake on housing market sentiment and activity, not least because so many younger borrowers have never experienced interest rate hikes before, let alone the fastest tightening cycle since 1994”.

“Our best estimate is that the property market downturn will continue for as long as borrowers fear rising mortgage rates, led by Sydney and Melbourne, and this is likely to mean for at least the remainder of 2022”.

“The flip side to this is that the underlying housing market fundamentals are strengthening, with immigration visas set to be fast-tracked to address Australia’s skills shortage, the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, and incomes now rising” Mr Wargent said.

 Top suburb picks 

BuyersBuyers CEO Doron Peleg said that the national marketplace for buyer’s agents has now released its Investor Special Report for 2022-3, assessing the outlook for each of Australia’s states and territories.

Mr Peleg said, “using our unique housing market analysis tools, we have not only taken a macro view in our Investor Report, but we have also identified some of our favourite suburb picks and investment hotspots.”

“In New South Wales, we expect there to be a sharp rebound in sentiment and activity in early 2023, especially in the sub $1.5 million price brackets, as the long-discussed stamp duty reform kicks in for first homebuyers from January. All of our suburb picks for houses and units therefore reflect this, as well believe the property market recovery will be driven from then entry level price points upwards” Mr Peleg said.

Buyers co-founder Pete Wargent said that the Melbourne market has been significantly disrupted over the past couple of years, with extended lockdowns and COVID restrictions and decline in the population as residents headed interstate to south-east Queensland.

Mr Wargent said, “the relative underperformance of the Melbourne market means that there are some attractive deals on offer for counter-cyclical investors in suburban houses. Some counter-cyclical investors are also now looking at investment grade units in Melbourne, after a decade of underperformance, particularly where they can find assets with a point of scarcity.”

Mr Wargent said, “in south-east Queensland the rental market remains extraordinarily tight following the fastest net interstate migration to the state in Australia’s history, which is still continuing.”

“SEQ has benefited from remote and flexible working arrangements more than any other state, and there are some excellent opportunities to buy houses in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sunshine Coast. Price growth has been strong over the past 18 months in Queensland, so investors need to be discerning, buy carefully, negotiate hard, and take a long-term view, perhaps out to the 2032 Brisbane Olympics”.

Mr Wargent said that after a relatively quiet decade a looming rental crisis and relative affordability is driving a tremendous surge in interest from investors looking to buy in Adelaide.

“Two of the key features of the past couple of years have been a ‘race for space,’ and water as a drawcard for property buyers. Some of Adelaide’s beachside suburbs tick both of these boxes, and from relatively attractive price entry points as compared to the larger capital cities.”

Counter-cyclical opportunities 

BuyersBuyers CEO said that the 2022-3 Investor Report will be made available via the company’s website.

Mr Peleg said, “average household sizes declined through the pandemic, and despite a large volume of dwellings under construction, there is going to be tremendous pressure on Australia’s housing stock over the next few years as immigration ramps up again.”

“As population rises towards 350,000 to 400,000 per annum by the end of next year, and as borrowers realised that mortgage rates are still relatively low in absolute and historic terms, we believe that the second half of 2022 will prove to be an attractive period to buy for investors seeking an inflation hedge as rents soar.”

“There is an excellent opportunity to buy with far less competition and to negotiate hard on quality assets for the long term” Mr Peleg said.

“Of course, borrowers need to factor in that mortgage rates will inevitably rise from here, and to take a long-term view of investment property as an asset class.”

ENDS

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Tax time focus on rental property income and deductions

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Tax time focus on rental property income and deductions

AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE

Income and tax deductions from rental properties is one of the four key areas the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is focusing on this tax time. It’s an area that’s easy to get wrong, and needs extra care when lodging. The ATO Random Enquiry Program has found that nine out of ten tax returns that reported rental income and deductions contain at least one error, even though most of those property owners were assisted by a registered tax agent.

The ATO is therefore urging rental property owners to ensure they carefully review their records before declaring income or claiming deductions this tax time, and for registered tax agents to ask a few extra questions of their clients.

Assistant Commissioner Tim Loh explained “Registered tax agents can only work with the information they gather from their clients, and we know some clients won’t know everything they need to tell their agent. We don’t expect agents to be Sherlock Holmes, but we do expect them to ask the right questions to ensure their client’s return is right.”

Mr Loh said that rental property owners are urged to ensure they know what income they need to declare and what can be claimed as a deduction.

“We are concerned about mistakes, and in particular, leaving out income or deliberate over-claiming of rental property deductions this year.”

“Getting it right the first time, will ensure you receive the tax refund you are owed, and avoids us knocking on your front door down the track.”

INCLUDE ALL RENTAL INCOME

The ATO receives rental income data from a range of sources including sharing economy platforms, rental bond authorities, property management software providers, and state and territory revenue and land title authorities.

“The amount of data we access grows each year, making it easier and faster for us to spot any rental income that you have charged your tenants, but haven’t declared,” Mr Loh said.

When preparing tax returns, make sure all rental income is included, such as from short-term rental arrangements, renting part of a home, and other rental-related income like insurance payouts and rental bond money retained.

“Income and deductions must be in line with a rental property owner’s ownership interest, which should generally mirror the legal documents.”

GET YOUR EXPENSES RIGHT

Not all expenses are the same – some can be claimed straight away, such as rental management fees, council rates, repairs, interest on loans and insurance premiums. Other expenses such as borrowing expenses and capital works need to be claimed over a number of years. Capital works can include replacing a roof, or a new kitchen renovation. Depreciating assets such as a new dishwasher or new oven costing over $300 are also claimed over their effective life.

Refinancing or redrawing on a rental property loan for private expenses such as holidays or a new car, means that the amount of interest relating to the loan for the private expense can’t be claimed as a deduction.

If income from a rental property in a holiday location is earnt, it needs to be included in tax returns.

“You can claim expenses for the property to the extent that they are incurred for the purpose of producing rental income, not where your family and friends stayed in the property for a mini getaway at mate’s rates, you use it yourself, say at Christmas, or you stopped renting the property out,” Mr Loh said.

“Other circumstances where deductions cannot be claimed include pretending that your property is available for rent when it really isn’t, for example you advertise significantly above a reasonable market rate compared to similar properties or you place unreasonable restrictions on potential tenants.”

“Our 2022 Tax Time Toolkit for Investors also contains a number of fact sheets for landlords, including Top 10 tips to help landlords avoid common tax mistakes. These tips will help you avoid common mistakes and save you time and money.”

SELLING A RENTAL PROPERTY

When selling a rental property, capital gains tax (CGT) needs to be considered and any capital gains or capital losses need to be reported.

When calculating a capital gain or capital loss, it’s important to get the cost base calculation right. Cost base is usually the cost of the property when purchased and any costs associated with acquiring or selling it. These can be things like stamp duty, legal fees, valuations and real estate sales fees. Any capital works claimed as deductions may also need to be subtracted from the cost base.

“If you’ve sold a rental property that was once your home, you may be entitled to partially claim the main residence exemption. You will need to claim this exemption in your tax return when you lodge.” Mr Loh said.

Records of all income and expenses relating to rental properties, including purchase and sale records, must be kept. This ensures all eligible deductions are captured when preparing tax returns and capital gains tax can be calculated correctly when the property is sold.

“It’s also important to note that when selling any property for more than $750,000, vendors / sellers must have a clearance certificate otherwise 12.5% will be withheld.” Mr Loh said.

Clearance certificate applications can take up to 28 days to process so to avoid delays, sellers should apply as early as practical using the online form. Having tax affairs up to date, including all lodgments, helps speed up the assessment of an application and a certificate being issued. The certificates last for 12 months and if selling more than one property in the year, it can be used for multiple sales. Foreign residents are generally not eligible for a clearance certificate but may apply to vary the withholding amount.

Apply for a certificate and find out more at ato.gov.au/FRCGWcertificate

KEEP GOOD RECORDS TO PROVE IT ALL

Records of rental income and expenses should be kept for five years from the date of tax return lodgments or five years after the disposal of an asset, whichever is longer.

“Get your books in order and start keeping records as soon as you make the decision to earn rental income. It makes tax time so much easier for you and your registered tax agent” Mr Loh said.

Adequate records should demonstrate how the expense was incurred for the rental property and the extent they relate to producing rental income. They must include the name of the supplier, amount of the expense, the nature of the goods or services, the date the expense was incurred, and the date of the document.

“We can ask for proof of any claim that you make, so good record keeping is the only way to ensure you can claim everything you are entitled to.”

“Remember, when your return is lodged, you are on the hook for the claims you are making, not the registered tax agent.”

 

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Updated rate hike forecasts and the outlook for housing values

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Updated rate hike forecasts and the outlook for housing values

Cash rate forecast updates from ANZ Bank has reverberated through the economics, banking and finance and property industries this week. The Reserve Bank has also publicly stated the official interest rate is still probably well below where it needs to be.

More will be known following the June quarter inflation figures, to be released next week, followed closely by the RBA’s regular monthly meeting on the first Tuesday in August.

Despite the RBA’s view that Australian households are well-placed to manage further rate hikes, what would the ramifications be if the upwards revision to ANZ’s cash rate forecast proves correct? Long story short, it would spell more bad news for the trajectory of housing values. Since the first rate hike in May, the downwards trend in value growth has steepened, with the rate of decline accelerating across Sydney and Melbourne.

Interestingly Brisbane, which was previously enjoying a run of high quarterly growth in housing values, has abruptly joined the decline trend with the rolling four-week change in dwelling values turning negative through the first week of July, according to CoreLogic’s daily hedonic home value index. Since peaking, Sydney housing values are down -4.4%, with most of the decline (-3.8%) occurring since the May 5 rate hike. Similarly, in Melbourne, housing values are down -2.6% since then, comprising the bulk of a peak to current decline of -2.8%.

Growth in housing values is broadly slowing around the country, and it is likely more regions will succumb to negative movements over the coming months.

Our latest Mapping the Market data released this week showed of the 3,085 house and unit markets analysed in the June quarter, 41.9% had declined in value. It’s double the proportion that recorded negative rates of growth in Q1. To put the figure in perspective, at the height of the 2017-2019 downturn, almost 81% of house and unit markets were recording a quarterly decline in values. In the early phase of COVID, housing markets went through a broad-based but short-lived decline when 67% of markets were in decline, while during the peak of the pandemic growth cycle in early to mid-2021, only 3.2% of markets were recording a decline in value.

With household debt at record highs, and most of that debt held in housing assets, the household sector is highly sensitive to the rising cost of debt.  Add to this the extremely high prices for non-discretionary goods such as food and fuel, and it’s clear that household balance sheets are likely to be more challenged as mortgage rates increase.

While labour market conditions remain tight, there isn’t a great deal of concern that households will fall behind on their debt repayment schedules, however it is likely that households will be pulling back in other areas of their expenditure to ensure they can fund essential purchases as well keep up to date on their debt servicing obligations.  Sizeable repayment buffers, which the RBA recently estimated to be around 21 months for variable mortgage rate borrowers, should also help to cushion distress across the mortgage sector.

Consumer sentiment continued to trend sharply lower in June, with the monthly Westpac-Melbourne Institute index falling another -3%. The sentiment index is down nearly -20% since December and has fallen every month through 2022.  Westpac notes the pace of decline is comparable to previous shocks historically.  With an index value of 83.8 (noting anything below 100 indicates pessimists outweigh optimists), the sentiment reading has only been this low historically through periods of major disruption (pandemic, GFC, 90’s recession and 80’s recession).  The decline is mostly being driven by concerns around inflation, and to a lesser extent higher interest rates, but readings of housing sentiment have also declined, especially in NSW and Victoria.  Clearly consumers are very sensitive to cost pressures, implying a fragile household sector and likely points towards a broader pull back in consumption and housing market activity until sentiment starts to improve.

Overseas arrivals and departures data for June shows an ongoing ‘normalisation’ in international movements for both arrivals and departures.  Both measures are now tracking at around half of their pre-pandemic levels, but trending higher.  The return of migration back to Australia is likely to flow into additional rental demand – boosting demand in what is already an extremely tight rental market.  We should also see a gradual boost to tourism sectors as overseas visitors pick up, although there may be some downside impact as Australians embark on overseas holidays rather than the domestic oriented travel we have seen through the second half of the pandemic.

 

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